LaBarres, longtime Detroit Lakes realtors, are retiring with Counselor Realty taking over from ERA Northland – Detroit Lakes Tribune

There have been some changes in the local real estate scene in recent months. Recent visitors to downtown Detroit Lakes may have noticed that the ERA Northland Realty sign above the office on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Frazee Street has been replaced with a Counselor Realty sign.

ERA Northland Realty, founded in 1971 by Chuck Erickson and Harry Johnston and purchased by Dave LaBarre in 1987, has now closed after Dave and Patty LaBarre retired on December 1st.

“It’s just about time,” Patty LaBarre said in a recent interview, adding that she and Dave are both in their mid-60s. “I’ve been in real estate for 21 years, but Dave has been in it since he graduated from college.”

When Dave LaBarre joined Northland Realty in 1977, Warren Nunn was the manager; Patty joined the company in 2000. Her son, licensed real estate agent Jack LaBarre, and real estate agent Deanna Sinclair, both formerly of ERA Northland, have now joined the Counselor team.

Eric Lundmark, a partner at Counselor Realty, has purchased the building at 901 Washington Avenue and all of Counselor Realty’s agents and employees have moved into their new homes.

“I liked the location,” Lundmark said of the reasons for his purchase decision and the company’s decision to move there. “We’re excited to be downtown and to be a little more involved with all the downtown activities. It’s a very desirable place.”

“We weren’t unhappy with our old location,” said Mike Ring, who has been a broker at Counselor Realty since the local office opened in 2008. “We just thought that this room… will take us to the next level.”

The LaBarres, on the other hand, are enjoying their transition into retirement.

Local real estate agents Dave and Patty LaBarre head into the sunset after selling their ERA Northland Realty building and closing their office at 907 Washington Ave. Counselor Realty partner Eric Lundmark bought the building, which he is leasing to the firm.

Post / Laura Wagoner / Special for the Detroit Lakes Tribune

“I would like to express our appreciation to those who have helped us along this journey; from the founders who got me started in the business 44 years ago, all the agents and staff over the years and especially our clients who have made it a great career,” said Dave LaBarre. “Thank you all.”

His wife and co-owner Patty LaBarre added, “Thank you to everyone who has worked with us over the years. I will miss her!”

She later commented that she would also miss going to the heart of downtown to start work every day.

In addition to their contributions to the real estate industry throughout the region, the LaBarres have supported several charitable causes, and Patty has spearheaded the grassroots project to ensure downtown Detroit Lakes is a showcase year-round with the Downtown Alive beautification project, the led to such colorful summer flowers and winter decorations. Patty has done a lot of work to ensure that the project receives financial support from local individuals and businesses year after year.

“I will continue to be involved in that,” she said, adding that she is also considering the possibility of applying for a position on Detroit Lakes’ newly created Arts and Culture Commission, in addition to continuing her involvement with Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary Club.

Beyond that, Patty said she and Dave have made no concrete plans other than a road trip out west to visit family and friends.

“We’re going to Vancouver, Washington to see my cousin,” Patty said. “Then we head south on Highway 1 (which follows the Pacific coast through California).”

She added that she’s looking forward to taking her first “proper” vacation in many years — a vacation so spontaneous they didn’t even book a hotel room along the way.

“This will be fun,” she said.

Lundmark said he was optimistic about the future of the counselor agency. “I look forward to the growth of Counselor Realty in its new location and with the addition of Deanna Sinclair and Jack LaBarre to the team,” he said, adding, “I wish Dave and Patty LaBarre all the best in their retirements.”

Ring added that with a staff of 12 licensed agents, they hope to grow their business even more than in the past.

“We had $70 million in sales last year,” he said, noting that their average selling price was “about double” that of their next-biggest competitor since they sell a lot of “high-end” on the lakefront and commercial real estate.

“We were incredibly lucky,” he added.

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